It’s tough having an autoimmune condition.
Not only do you feel like crap with symptoms like exhaustion, aches and pains, brain fog, hair loss and skin issues, but autoimmune illness can and will play havoc with your weight.
Since most autoimmune disease are “invisible” meaning that you can look pretty normal, weight gain or weight loss is often one of the visible signs we wear that mean we are sick.
But the only person who actually makes the connection between the disease and the scales is us.
To the rest of the world, you are getting fat or getting skinny and either way, it’s not a good feeling or experience.
Looking back over my life, I can see that the sudden weight I gained at around 9 years of age was a sign of my autoimmune condition manifesting.
I seemed to go from normal size girl to obese overnight.
My first diet was at 9 and I had been dieting on and off for decades, no doubt doing my thyroid additional damage along the way with yo yo diets followed by deprivation fueled binges.
After making peace with eating 6 years ago and giving up diets for good, my body settled at a weight that was stable for years, until about 14 months before my hashi’s meltdown where I rapidly gained weight around my middle and face for no apparent reason.
All signs of the inflammation inside me that I didn’t understand. All ways that my body was crying out for my help and support.
It is upsetting to not fit into your clothes and keep gaining and not look like ‘you’ anymore.
It is scary to lose so much weight that you begin to wonder how much you can lose and still function.
It can hurt to think that people are judging you for being lazy or a glutton or having an eating disorder.
So the biggest mistake I see people in forums and message boards make is being fixated on their weight, especially when they are seeking weight loss.
There are so many factors at play that make you gain weight with autoimmune disease:
- Inflammation. In the gut, joints, body and skin.
- Absorption issues from leaky gut, food allergies and sensitivities.
- Metabolic issues from low thyroid hormones which slow the bodies ability to absorb nutrients and burn energy.
- Compromised liver function as the liver plays a central role in all the metabolic functions of the body.
- Lack of sleep which breaks the bodies natural cycle of detoxification and repair.
Focusing on your weight is detrimental for three major reasons:
It creates frustration and stress which in turn, creates more autoimmune flares, misery and feelings of powerlessness.
It makes you blind to the thing that you need to be focused on; remission of symptoms and better health.
It widens the cracks in your relationship between yourself and your body as the “thing that is betraying me and letting me down.”
And I understand perfectly how that feels, I really do which is why I am writing this today.
Your body is sick, very sick and it desperately needs your love, help and support.
Your body is waging a war inside against inflammation, using overworked and burdened organs being attacked by the very parts of the body designed to defend it.
The priority of your body is triage. Keeping you alive and functioning and breathing.
All while you push it and rail against it and resent it and deprive it of food that it needs to heal because of the number showing on the scales or the tightness of your clothes.
So it’s time to get your priorities really clear.
Help your body and give it tender loving care.
Find out which foods feel better in your body focusing on nutrition rather than calories.
Start working on reducing the inflammation, getting to bed at regular hours, reducing your stress load, accepting your disease and going into partnership with your body.
Throw your scales away and start to keep a symptom diary instead.
Understand that your body is doing the very best that it can for you. It’s priorities at the moment are to do what it needs to keep you alive and when you start working with your body, it will repay you a thousand fold.
How do I know this?
Because this is exactly the approach I live by and not only am I mostly symptom free, my body has reduced enough inflammation that my weight loss is now enough that I am buying smaller clothes.
I don’t know what I weigh and I really don’t care.
It’s not my priority even though I do feel better in my clothes and more comfortable in myself.
What I want, what I need is better health, more energy, more focus and more peace.
By stopping your fixation on weight, you will stop creating a whole lot of stress, frustration, self-hate and helplessness, all of which are enough to keep you inflamed and symptomatic no matter how much you weigh.
The best gift you can give your body is support and trust.
You will be so amazed at what it can do with that.